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New fund to help students cope with crisis situations

by Karen A. Grava - August 25, 2008

When an out-of-state UConn student learned that his parent unexpectedly died, he was faced not only with coping with his grief but also with the financial challenge of trying to fund an unplanned trip home.

A new program started by the Division of Student Affairs will help students cope with the unexpected when they are confronted with a personal or financial crisis such as this.

The program, the Students First Fund, will enable the University to reach out to students in need, using private contributions made by members of the UConn community.

“The fund is necessary because we are prohibited from using state funds to personally benefit an individual student,” said Denielle Burl, director of risk management in the Division of Student Affairs. “This fund will allow us to reach out to students through the donation of funds or gift certificates when they need it the most.”

The fund, administered by the UConn Foundation, will permit Student Affairs to contribute to students who have had apartment fires, car accidents, or other crises, and need transportation, books, clothing, or even food.

So far, the fund has collected more than $12,000 in donations.

“University employees, who often are the first to hear about or witness these circumstances, can contribute through cash, credit card, or payroll deduction,” Burl says.

“Alumni who may remember what it is like to be a student without a lot of resources may also want to contribute to this fund.”

Individuals wishing to contribute to Students First can do so through a single payment or a payroll deduction.

“Gifts may be given in honor of a person, entity, or group,” adds Burl, “and because this is managed through the Foundation, gifts may be given without implicating our state ethics code.”

The fund will be administered by the Students First Fund Committee, which has established a procedure by which students can be nominated or apply for assistance.

“Gifts of any size make a difference,” Burl says. “We are able to reach out and connect with our students and in most cases, even the smallest amount is a tremendous help. This is a great opportunity for the UConn family to reach out to students in need.”

More information is at the Students First Fund web site.

For more information on the Students First Fund, contact Burl at 860-486-2265 or via e-mail: denielle.burl@uconn.edu.

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